MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three weeks ago, Randy Mazey made a change to his lineup. In an attempt to maximize JJ Wetherholt’s fantastic season, the WVU head coach moved Wetherholt to the leadoff spot and slid Braden Barry down to the No. 2 hole in the order.
The move worked, as not only did Wetherholt continue to produce, but Tevin Tucker saw his offensive numbers improve, as well.
Elsewhere in the lineup, outfielder Landon Wallace was also heating up. However, Barry was starting to cool.
Wallace entered Sunday’s matinee against Kansas on a tear. He had recorded at least one hit in 12 of the last 13 games, had five multi-hit games over that stretch, and was hitting at a .411 clip over the past five contests. Barry, on the other hand, had seen his batting average drop by roughly 20 percentage points over the 11 games.
Thus, ahead of the series finale, Mazey moved Wallace up to the second slot and Barry down to fifth in the lineup. It was the second noteworthy change to Mazey’s lineup card in recent weeks. And once again, the skipper’s move paid off.
“I told Braden, that wasn’t because he wasn’t doing well, that was because Landon was doing well,” said Mazey. “To get Landon up there, he’s pretty hot right now, and if you want to pitch around JJ, you’re going to have to face Landon, and he’s starting to settle in and do pretty well. And Barry’s in a spot where he can drive runs in.”
Wallace’s hot streak continued in West Virginia’s 12-3 win. He bashed opposite-field home runs off Jayhawks’ pitching in the fourth and sixth innings. He finished the day 2 for 4 with three runs scored and three runs batted in and reached base in the first inning on a hit-by-pitch.
The junior left fielder said after the game that he’s not worried about where he hits in the order.
“To me, I look at hitting as hitting, it doesn’t matter if I do so one or nine. I’m going to get an [at-bat], I’m going to get a pitch to hit, so I might as well just go hit,” said Wallace.
Barry also reached base three times. The junior center fielder belted RBI doubles to left field in the fourth and eighth innings. He also drew a bases-loaded walk as part of the five-run first inning. Barry went 2 for 4 with three RBI at the dish, and scored once.
Sophomore first baseman Grant Hussey has also moved up and down the order as of late.
Hussey is hitting at a .464 clip over the last seven games, collecting 13 hits, eight of which have gone for extra bases. Four of those extra-base hits have left the yard. He has hit as high as fifth and as low as eighth in the order during this stretch.
West Virginia (23-9, 3-3 Big 12) is back in action on Tuesday. The Mountaineers will be on the road to face Penn State (17-11, 1-5 Big Ten) in State College.